Times are tough – With all the controversies around Solyndra and Fast and Furious showing simply no indications of disappearing anytime soon, President Obama confronts an uphill struggle to remain focused entirely on earning re-election following November.
The White House declared Friday it has requested evaluation the Energy Departments loan guarantee program as numerous investigations swirl over Solyndra, the California-based solar company which went bankrupt just after receiving a $528 million federal loan.
And a minimum of eight Republican lawmakers are askin Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over the botched federal gun-trafficking program known as Fast and Furious.
The developments arrive as Obama tries to convince voters that his top priority is transforming the economy around and that he needs a second term despite his low approval ratings.
Obamas $447 jobs bill failed to advance in the Senate and already he is hoping to get Congress to pass the package piece by piece. However the first piece, a $35 billion bill to help local governments keep teachers on the job and pay for the salaries of police and firefighters, has delayed in the Senate.
Obama has started skipping Congress and taking steps on his own through executive measures which he says will stimulate economic advancement. On Friday, he directed government agencies to shorten some time it requires for federal research to turn into commercial products in the market. The target should be to help startup organizations and smaller businesses create jobs and expand their operations more quickly.
He also called for developing a centralized online site for companies to easily find information about federal services. He formerly reported help for individuals that owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth and for the repayment of student education loans. The White House also challenged community health centers to hire veterans.
We can no longer wait for Congress to perform its task, Obama said. So where Congress wont act, I will
But his actions are at risk of being overshadowed by the two controversies that could cause voters to lose faith in his administration.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee declared Friday that the panel would certainly vote Thursday to subpoena White House data related to the Solyndra loan. Congressional Republicans have been investigating the bankruptcy of Solyndra amid facts that federal officials were aware that it had troubles but nevertheless persisted to support it.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is going to testify before the committee on Nov. 17 about the Solyndra loan.
And Holder has accepted Rep. Darrell Issas demand to appear before the House Judiciary Committee inside December to reply to more questions about his amount of involvement in Fast and Furious and its underlying plan to let numerous guns sold in the U.S. enter into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
The Obama administration is fighting hard to play down the controversies.
White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said Friday how the new independent review will measure the condition of other loan guarantees made by the Energy Department and make recommendations to the administration on how to enhance the process.
The president is focused on investing in clean energy as he knows that the jobs developing and manufacturing these technologies will either be developed here or in other countries, he said. And while we continue to take steps to make sure the United States remains competitive in the 21st century energy economy, we must also ensure that we are strong stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Holder, meanwhile, has insisted that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious -prior towards the public outcry over the operation which was captivated from the homicide of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Dec. Guns linked with Fast and Furious were found at Terrys crime scene.
Holder testified in May before the House Judiciary Committee he probably learned about Fast and Furious the very first time over the last few weeks.
But Republican lawmakers are cynical of his accounts after acquiring five memos addressed to Holder in July and August 2010, stating the operation by name.
Now eight members of Congress — Reps. Joe Walsh of Illinois, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, John Mica of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Blake Farenthold of Texas, Gus Bilrakis of Florida, Francisco Canseco of Texas — have considered necessary Holder to step down.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R- S. C., a member of Judiciary Board, told Fox News that it was not his role to demand Holder’s resignation.
President Obama hired him. President Obama can certainly decide whether he’s doing the job ? he said. I suspect when it grows more of a political liability, they’ll have that conversation. My interest is not in career advice, I want to get answers for the American people on who knew what when.